Bill aims to ban workplace firings for positive marijuana tests

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WICS/WRSP) — Marijuana may be legal for recreational use in Illinois, but that doesn't mean your workplace can't test you for it and fire you if your results are positive. A newly introduced bill in the General Assembly aims to change that.

HB 4116 would ban employers from firing or refusing to hire employees based solely on a positive marijuana test.

Only low-level amounts of marijuana in an employee's system would be tolerated under the new law.

Low level would be a minimum of 5 nanograms per milliliter of blood or 10 nanograms per milliliter in bodily fluids like saliva.

Marijuana is still federally illegal, so those with federal employers or contracts would not be covered under the bill.

James Baker is a Springfield attorney whose firm (Barker, Barker, & Krajewski) specializes in employment law. He says drug testing in the workplace would still be legal under the bill.

"There could be drug testing based on reasonable suspicion, there can be random drug testing, there can be drug testing following an accident," Baker said.

Baker says that employers can only know about marijuana-related accidents if they're allowed to continue drug testing.

The bill would provide exceptions for groups like emergency workers. It also allows employers the ability to discipline employees for impairment on the job.

The bill was introduced by Rep. Bob Morgan, D-Highland Park, on July 30.

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